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Jalapeño Popper Mac & Cheese

This creamy mac & cheese is loaded with cheese, bacon, chicken and spicy jalapeños and is sure to become a family favorite!


  • 8 oz. dried macaroni (about two cups)

  • 1 Tbsp butter

  • 2-3 jalapeños peppers, minced

  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic

  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half

  • 1 tsp mustard

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

  • 4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 block)

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken

  • 4 cooked, crumbled bacon strips or 1/4 cup bacon bits


  1. Cook macaroni as the box directs (see notes for Instant Pot directions). Drain and set aside.

  2. Add the butter to a large skillet on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, cook the minced jalapeños for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.

  3. Whisk in the flour, followed by the half-and-half.

  4. Whisk in the mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Whisk or stir until the cheese is fully melted.

  5. Add in the macaroni, chicken, and bacon. Stir until everything is well combined.


  • Jalapeños: I usually do 3 jalapeños and since they are cooked at the beginning, this dish isn't very spicy. Feel free to add more if you want it spicier or less if you don't want any spice.

  • Macaroni in the Instant Pot: It may be dependent on the brand, but for Barilla and Great Value I do 2 cups dried pasta with 2 cups water. Pressure cook for 3 minutes with a quick release.

  • Get in more vegetables: you can easily add in vegetables at the end! Frozen peas or a big handful of spinach would pair well and make this a more balanced meal! Or serve it with a side dish of salad, roasted asparagus or steamed broccoli.

Love this recipe? Let me know by leaving a comment or messaging me on Instagram! I'd love to hear what you think.

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